Pride shines through on Club of Origin night

Pride shines through on Club of Origin night

As the final whistle blew on Saturday’s Celtic Challenge clash with Brython Thunder, a whole range of emotions took centre stage for those involved with Glasgow Warriors.

Yet whilst disappointment at the narrow margin of defeat was understandably present, there could be no mistaking the two prevailing emotions from Chris Laidlaw and his playing group; pride at the development of the squad in its inaugural campaign, and determination to come back even stronger.

“I’m immensely proud of this group” Head Coach Laidlaw told in the immediate aftermath of the full-time whistle.

“I’m gutted for the group to be honest – everyone that’s been involved with the programme up until this point, not just the starting XV or matchday 23, has worked so hard and applied themselves so well, they deserved to get that win over the line.”

Nikki Simpson echoed Laidlaw’s sentiment, the hooker having been an ever-present member of the squad since its inception at the end of last year.

“I’m super proud of how far we’ve come,” said the Garioch product.

“We’ve become such a tight-knit group – everyone is such good pals off the field, and we’re all loving being a part of this club.

“Everyone has made us feel so, so welcome, and we’re only going to get better as a group.”

The continued development of the squad could be seen throughout Saturday’s clash, which formed the first part of the club’s first-ever Club of Origin double-header at Scotstoun.

Players from both the men’s and women’s squads sported socks from their home club to celebrate those that had helped shape their rugby journey to date, with one ticket covering both matches for the Warrior Nation.

“I started my journey off up at Ellon and then moved to Garioch, and they’ve both played such a massive role in my rugby journey,” said Simpson.

“I have no words for how grateful I am to them, honestly, and I hope that they can provide the same for the girls coming through in the future.”

Laidlaw expressed his gratitude to those involved in the grassroots game, adding: “This club has such a proud tradition of being connected to the community and the clubs within Glasgow, the west and Caledonia, and to be involved in a double-header like this one is absolutely phenomenal.

“The work that everyone at the clubs of origin does, both at the grassroots level and supporting the players in our programme, is superb and we’ve loved being a part of the celebrations this week.”

The Warriors close their inaugural Celtic Challenge campaign this Saturday with a trip to Belfast, as Laidlaw’s squad take on the Gwalia Lightning at the Kingspan Stadium.

With the squad having continued to improve week on week, determination throughout the playing group is high to finish the competition strongly when they take to the field one last time this weekend – with Laidlaw already having one eye on the future for his side.

“We’ve seen players improve week upon week, not just individually but as a collective, and that’s a direct result of being involved in this programme,” explained the Glasgow boss.

“That’s the nature of what this competition is all about, really. There’s been such a huge amount of growth, and our hope is that when this competition finishes next week after the Lightning match, these girls go back to their home clubs, put into practice the habits they’ve learned here, keep developing and hopefully be right back here again in our environment next year.”

For hooker Simpson, the desire to claim that elusive first win is tangible.

“We’ve given everything every single week,” she said.

“We want to keep getting better, for our family and friends, for everyone that’s watching and supporting, and I honestly can’t say enough about this programme. The crowd today, too – it was such an amazing feeling hearing them get behind us.

“We want to do each other proud, and we’re going to come out fighting for next weekend to finish on a high.”

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